Jazz Spectrum 91

Saturdays at 9:00 p.m.

Hosted by Fritz Byers, Jazz Spectrum 91 is designed as an anthology, a loose and flowing tour through the history of the music, showcasing the wondrous diversity of jazz and the virtuosity of the musicians who play it. The notion of jazz history, in any formal sense, is problematic, since the best recordings are timeless, tied not so much to time and place as to personal and collective inspiration, which, like all thunderclaps of genius, defy tidy explanation. Jazz is marked, at once, both by limitless innovation and enormous discipline, and it is this tension -- between the individual and the group, between form and invention -- that makes jazz such a source of boundless fascination. And joy.

  • Views: 676 This Week on Jazz Spectrum 91

    October 10th - Often referred to as the most creative year in jazz, 1959 is a milestone year for the genre. With releases such as Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come, Dave Brubeck's Take Five, and Miles Davis's Kind Of Blue, it's easy to overlook a lot of great music released that year. This week we highlight amazing but forgotten releases from the year 1959. The featured song this week is Count Basie's classic, "Blue and Sentimental." Also, a set dedicated to the late Phil Woods.

  • Jazz Spectrum Playlist- October 3, 2015

    SET 1

    Lorin Cohen, Home, "Crossings"

    Ben Winkelman Trio, The Knife, "The Knife"

    The Ted Howe Jazz Orchestra, Pinnacle, "Presto for Two Trombones"

    Calvin Keys, Close Enough for Love, "Can't Get Started," "Blues for Ahmed"

    SET 2

    Fred Hersch, Solo, "Olha Maria/ O Grande Amor," "Caravan," "Pastorale"

    SET 3

    Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra & the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, "Polka Dots and Moonbeams"

    Blue Mitchell, Blue Soul, "Polka Dots and Moonbeams"

    Ella Fitzgerald, Fine and Mellow, "Polka Dots and Moonbeams"

    Elmo Hope Sextet, Informal Jazz, "Polka Dots and Moonbeams"

    Dee Dee Bridgewater, Keping Tradition, "Polka Dots and Moonbeams"

    Toshiko Akiyoshi, Live at Maybeck Recital Hall, "Polka Dots and Moonbeams"

    SET 4

    Dawan Muhammed, Gatekeepers Blues, "Dahomey Dance"

    John Wojciechowski, Focus, "In Your Own Sweet Way"

    Andrea Brachfeld, Lotus Blossom, "Lotus Blossom"

    SET 5

    Fred Hersch, Live at the Village Vanguard, "Endless Stars"

    Fred Hersch, Solo, "Whirl," "The Song is You," "In Walked Bud"

    SET 6

    Hans Luchs, Time Never Pauses, "Come Sunday"

    Frank Morgan, A Lovesome Thing, "A Flower is a Lovesome Thing"

    Charlie Haden & Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Tokyo Adagio, "Sandino"

  • The Understated Stylings of Rotem Sivan

    By Alec Hillyer

          “A New Dance” (Fresh Sound Records) is the latest release from the Rotem Sivan Trio. Referred to by guitarist Peter Bernstein as “the next guitarist of our times,” Sivan is known to pack his improvisations, swelling the space of the song with notes. However, Sivan refuses to force his way onto the listener, preferring to play in an often refined and quiet manner. Accompanied by Haggai Cohen-Milo on upright bass and Colin Stranahan on drums, Sivan works out on seven of his original compositions and 3 standards, all reinforcing Sivan’s strengths as a pioneer in the modern New York City jazz scene. This release quickly follows last year’s “For Emotional Use Only,” an intimate and stripped-down live recording of the trio performing in New York City. Sivan seems to have something to prove on this record, exploring new territories of distortion, dubbing, and contemporary musical textures not present on previous releases. 

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  • On Ornette Coleman

    On Ornette Coleman By Fritz Byers (August 1998)

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  • Jazz Spectrum - Best of 2014

    Best of 2014

    The pleasures of jazz range from the thunderclap of wonder we feel when we encounter something utterly new to the gentle drizzling of appreciation that comes with a familiar tune done perfectly with just the right new embroidery. This has been true for all of the music’s vibrant, shifting life, and it remains so today. In this list of fifty appealing recordings from 2014, you’ll find a full range of these joys. (* denotes a special favorite)

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  • Jazz Spectrum - Best of 2013

    Best of 2013

    It took a bumper sticker to show me, graphically, what I’ve always suspected: Art is at the center of Earth. Embattled though our planet is, it offers, in a bewilderingly widening stream, the endless innovations of art. Demographics may be, as has been said, just another form of lie. But in this list of fifty notable recordings from 2013, you’ll find a striking diversity of age, style, creed, training, technique, sound, and vision – jazz. (* denotes a special favorite.)

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  • Views: 83 Jazz Spectrum - Best of 2012

    Best of 2012

    Sometimes I imagine jazz musicians as a flock of scavengers in reverse, flying over the whole vast history of the music to sort among its many diverse bodies and dispensing new life to work once thought dead.  A couple of decades ago, Gary Giddins used the phrase “neo-classical eclecticism” to describe the then-current mood of jazz.  That was apt then, and remains so: so much is going on in the music these days that its seems as linear as a Mobius Strip.  And we all remember how cool that was to discovery.  Here are 50 releases from the year – the odds are excellent that you’ll find some things to surprise and engage you. (* denotes a special favorite.)

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  • Views: 169 Jazz Spectrum - Best of 2011

    Best of 2011

    In listening back over a year’s worth of releases, I keep thinking of the tagline from James Toback’s movie, Black and White:  “What if you mixed everything up.”  That’s how this year sounds to me.  “Eclectic” doesn’t quite capture it.  Neither does “multi-genre,” or its close (and possibly clichéd) sibling, “genre-bending.”  Let’s just say that jazz this year is mixed with all sorts of influences, taking whatever works, wherever it’s found. And making it all new.  Just like always. Happy New Year.

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  • Views: 300 Jazz Spectrum - Best of 2010

    Best of 2010

    Jazz, despite murmurs of its demise, remains vibrant, diverse, intriguing, and irresistible.  Major jazz labels are shriveling if not dying, but new and wonderful music continues to issue in a widening stream.  Here are 50 releases from the year that struck me as especially memorable.  (* denotes special favorites.)

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  • Views: 403 Jazz Spectrum - Best of 2009

    BEST OF 2009

    Fritz Byers selects 50 new jazz recordings from 2009 that stood out for their innovation, virtuosity, and beauty.

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  • Views: 785 The Alchemy of Scott Lafaro, by Kim Kleinman

    The bassist Scott Lafaro's voice -- fresh, vibrant, and melodic -- transformed the instrument and its role in jazz.  Working with artists as diverse as Bill Evans and Ornette Coleman, created pure gold in a form of artistic alchemy. Kim Kleinman considers Lafaro's achievement.

  • Views: 802 Honoring Blue Mitchell, by Fritz Byers

    The trumpeter Blue Mitchell created a substantial body of tasteful, expressive, and affecting music, including a series of recordings in the 50s and 60s for Riverside and Blue Note that document a sensibility of consistent excellence and appealing reserve.  Fritz Byers honors Mitchell's memory.

  • Views: 631 Jim Hall - An Appreciation, by Fritz Byers

    For fifty years, Jim Hall has been making jazz.  His accumulated body of work is rich, fluid, and marked by sustained excellence.  It also reflects Hall's relentless inventiveness.  Fritz Byers considers Hall's career.